The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned former Chief of Air Staff Mohammed Dikko Umar on Wednesday before Justice Nnamdi Dimga at the Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja on a 7-count charge of money laundering and procurement fraud amounting to N9.7 billion.
According to the EFCC, Mr. Umar, who served as Chief of Air Staff from September 2010 to October 2012, allegedly withdrew N700 million from the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) account to purchase a house at No. 14 Vistula Close, off Panama Street in Maitama, Abuja.
He also reportedly stole N500 million from the NAF account to buy a four-bedroom duplex at Road 3B Street 2 in Mabushi Ministers Hill, Abuja. Additionally, Mr. Umar allegedly took N250 million from the NAF's coffers to buy a property at No. 14, Audu Bako Way, GRA, Kano State in 2011, the EFCC said.
The offenses violate Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011.
The EFCC reports that one of the charges reads:
"That you, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, whilst being the Chief of Air Staff of the Nigerian Air Force between September 2010 to October 2012 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the court, directly converted the United States Dollars equivalent of the aggregate sum of N4,846,630,000.00 (Four billion, eight hundred and forty six million, six hundred and thirty thousand naira) only removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said funds formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity, to wit, criminal breach of trust and corruption, and you thereby committed an offense contrary Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Mr. Umar pleaded not guilty.
His attorney, Hassan Liman, moved for a bail application on self-recognition, arguing that his client had been granted bail when he was docked on May 11, 2016.
EFCC counsel Sylvanus Tahir opposed the bail application, but Justice Dimgba ultimately granted Mr. Umar bail, saying he should continue with his earlier bail condition and produce two sureties of either civil servants or businessmen with landed property at any satellite area in Abuja. Should Mr. Umar fail to honor his bail condition, he will be remanded in prison custody, the judge added.
He then adjourned the case to February 13 and 14, 2017.